I Always Feel Like, Somebody (At Hertz) Is Watching Me

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
i always feel like somebody at hertz is watching me

Frequent renters know and loathe the Hertz “AlwaysLost” aftermarket nav system for its unique combination of Commodore-VIC-20-esque interface and vague indifference to actual location. It’s best to think of the little black box as the Jar-Jar Binks of the rental-car business; sometimes it forgets that entire blocks of major city of streets exist, sometimes it interprets your freeway drive as a series of excursions to the surface streets beneath which causes a Tourette’s-like existential scream of continuously changing directions, and sometimes it’s just plain lost. But just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for the hapless Hertz customer, it turns out that the box might also be spying on you.

The newest NeverLost has a camera — you can see it in the publicity shot above — but Hertz claims that the camera isn’t turned on. Moreover, the company claims that they don’t know how to turn it on and have no plans to do so, and that any internal company videos purporting to show the camera working are fake. Approximately one in eight Hertz vehicles now has the camera.

In light of recent scandals such as the one where a rent-to-own company stole Social Security Numbers and took photos of users having sex there’s a definite concern that this Hertz “feature” could be used to, ah, compromise the, ah, privacy… oh, who cares, obviously the sole purpose of this device is to capture images of people getting “road head” and doing various other unsavory things in the rental cars. Given that the entire unspoken purpose of the Hertz “Dream Car Garage” or whatever it’s called is to rent cars to 43-year-old men who will then convince 23-year-old women to blow them in the parking lot of an Arby’s before the concert starts, which is a scenario that I just made up out of whole cloth and has nothing to do with any recent “Hertz Dream Car Garage” rentals I might or might not have booked… well, who cares, right? What I personally don’t want is for the company to create a so-called “supercut” of me scratching my personal equipment right after shaving it because that’s what the kids expect to see nowadays.

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  • Lou_BC Murilee is basically correct on the trim levels. People tend to refer to Ford's full-sized cars as "Galaxie 500" or "Galaxie's" even though that's just the mid level trim. I was never a fan of the '69 snout or any of the subsequent models. The vacuum controlled headlight covers typically failed. It was a heavy clunky system also found on the Mercury's like the Cougar. The XL's and LTD's could be purchased with factory bucket seats and a center console with a large shifter, similar to the type of throttle on an airplane. The late 60's era Ford cars had coil springs in the rear which rode nice. The shape of the fender wells did not lend themselves to fitting larger tires. The frame layout carried on to become the underpinnings of the Panther platform. I noticed that this car came with disc brakes in the front. There was a time when disc's were an upgrade option from drum brakes. Ford's engines of similar displacement are often assumed as being from the same engine families. In '69 the 429 was the biggest engine which was in the same family as the 460 (385 series). It was a true big block. In 1968 and earlier, the 428, 427, 390's typically found in these cars were FE block engines. The 427 side oiler has always been the most desired option.
  • Drew8MR Minivans are expensive new if you are just buying them for utility. Used minivans are often superfund sites in back compared to the typical barely used backseats in a lot of other vehicles and you aren't going to get a deal just because everything is filthy, broken and covered in spilled food and drink.
  • Arthur Dailey This is still the only 'car' show that our entire family enjoys. This is not Willie Mays with the Mets style of decline. More like Gretzky with the Blues. It may not be their 'best' work but when it works the magic is still there.
  • Cprescott Are there any actual minvans left? Honduh and Toyoduh are bloated messes - the Kia Carnival as well. These vehicles are within inches of a 1960's short wheelbase Ford Econoline in size. Hardly mini.
  • Arthur Dailey Ford was on a roll with these large cars. The preferred colours being either green or brown. The brown was particularly 'brougham'. Chrysler vehicles also seemed particularly popular in green during that era. Ford's 'aircraft' inspired instrument 'pod' for the driver rather than the 'flat' instrument panel was deemed 'futuristic' at the time. Note that this vehicle does not have the clock. The hands and numbers are missing. Having the radio controls on the left side of the driver could however be infuriating. Although I admire pop-up/hideaway headlights, Ford's vacuum powered system was indeed an issue. If I left my '78 T-Bird parked for more than about 12 hours, there was a good chance that when I returned the headlight covers had retracted. The first few times this happened it gave me a 'start' as I feared that I may have left the lights on and drained the battery.